Red-winged Blackbirds, Huntley Meadows Park

Red-winged Blackbird Singing, Huntley Meadows Park. Nikon D200, 75-300 AF @300mm, ISO 800, f/8, 1/500 sec.
Red-winged Blackbird Singing, Huntley Meadows Park. Nikon D200, 75-300 AF @300mm, ISO 800, f/8, 1/500 sec.

My first love in photography was shooting landscapes. By extension, I became interested in shooting wildlife: birds, in particular. There’s something thrilling about tracking down a bird, stalking it, and then shooting it. It’s sort of like hunting except without all of the—you know—death.

I’ve had mixed results in my bird photography exploits. Most of my more successful shots are of larger birds because I don’t have a massive telephoto lens (which is practically a requirement for filling the photo frame with a smaller bird). If anyone would like to donate $17,000, I promise it would go directly towards an 800mm lens.

Luckily, the red-winged blackbirds at Huntley Meadows are super patient. The best time to photograph them, typically, is late afternoon. The sun is at a more flattering angle, the light is warm in color, and these little guys are content to just perch and sing. I’ve been able to get really close to them and most of the birds don’t seem to mind at all.

Red-winged Blackbird, Huntley Meadows Park. Nikon D200, 75-300 AF @300mm, ISO 400, f/6.7, 1/500 sec.
Red-winged Blackbird, Huntley Meadows Park. Nikon D200, 75-300 AF @300mm, ISO 400, f/6.7, 1/500 sec.

The photo directly above was actually taken during late morning, but I like the muted color palette in contrast to the golden hour shot taken at the top of this post. I also like the superbly dreamy background, thanks to the good amount of distance between the bird and the trees in the distance. Like I said before, these birds have been really patient for me so it’s fun to hang out with one for a while, and capture their range of poses and emotions.

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